tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 6, 2013 1:00am-6:00am EST
for us to find a solution today and to our spending problems so that the next generation, young people in america, will have a fight for future. one gal just graduated from college and she was excited about opportunities america has to offer her. one gal told me she just graduated from college. she was excited about opportunities. many people were telling her to expect five years of unemployment. another girl was a sophomore in college. she said she was questioning whether she would go to graduate school and take on further debt because she does not have confidence there'll be a job waiting upon graduation. unfortunately, these challenges are not unique. their experiences are not uncommon. the $16 trillion debt is not
just a number. it does not a price tag that we have on this country. it is that out-of-control control spending that is threatening the next generation. the next generation of american leaders and the jobs that they will have once they graduate. they need skills to make sure mirko will be competitive moving forward. spending is a problem. we continue to urge the democrats to make the responsible spending cuts. we are committed to a smarter approach to spending reductions and reform and getting america back on track so that the next generation will have a bright future. >> back in 2008, that then
senator barack obama said it was unpatriotic that our national debt had increased $4 trillion. here we are halfway through an eight-year term for president obama and the national debt has increased on his watch. we have a spending problem. the president continues to want to raise taxes. we have trillions of dollars on taxes and a health-care bill and $700 billion at the beginning of the year. now he is talking about closing loopholes. that i'm pleased to hear because republicans have been talking about closing loopholes as part of a comprehensive tax reform. if they uses the tax loophole, closing the tax loopholes to pay for more spending, that kills fundamental apprehensive tax reform. the ways and means committee have been working so hard.
taxes is not the problem in washington. we collect more tax revenue this year than we have ever collected in the history of this nation. cbo recently predicted that tax revenue under current law will double in the next 10 years. from two point $4 trillion to $5 trillion in 10 short years. -- $2.4 trillion to $5 trillion in 10 short years. it is time for washington to -- >> good morning. i have freshman member from the state of montana. i have a different resume than most in congress. i'm not a lawyer. spent 28 years in the private sector. i have an engineering degree.
i have been creating jobs and i understand how to balance a budget. i understand businesses and the family budget. you have to find ways to do more with less. i left the private sector because i saw a financial crisis that was coming. i wife and i have four children. i have two college graduates ready to go into the workforce. i represent 1,000,001 canada -- residence. montana they will have a balanced budget. i think we can take some of those ideas back to washington. we take ideas from hard-working moms back in montana. they know if they cannot spend more than they take in.
we have a responsibility. we are responsible to the american people, our kids, we need to manage our spending and reform our government. we need to put it back on a path for the next 5, 10, 20 years. we need lasting growth. something better than what we got from our presence -- pa rents. >> i normally do not do this, t today is the president's birthday. >> will you sing a song? >> i will pass. >> [inaudible] >> the budget committee members
are working with all members to try to lay the groundwork for successful passage of our budget. we have done a budget for each of the past four years. hopefully the senate will keep their word and a budget for the first time in four years. i'm sure we can come to some agreement. >> [inaudible] >> i think we will let them work it out. >> can you talk about the potential speed bumps? i talked to some people on this side of the building who were concerned. >> the house -- our goal is to cut spending and not to shut down the government. we will move the c.r. next week and we hope the senate will take this bill up.
the president on friday agreed that there is no reason to have a debate on shutting down the government. it is not the smart and to do. >> [inaudible] >> i will not predict what the senate will or won't do. i hope they will take it up and pass it. >> for all intents and purposes, it looks like president obama -- >> you need a haircut by the way. [laughter] >> it looks like your -- he is putting up the white flag on -- what do you feel about that? >> listen, because of the president's bailout is to cut spending, -- reluctance to cut spending, we have been caught in this battle of having deadlines. this is no way to run a government.
until the president gets serious about his serious structural spending problem, we -- the best thing we can do is find some way to get the senate to do their work and have a large agreement that begins to adjust the spending problem. we need budget for the next 10 years. get out of this close of business. it is not the for the -- get out of this cliff of the business. it is not good for the country. there are many issues that people want us to address. we will address skills. we will take job training and retraining programs and simplify them and combine them so we can put more effort to train people for the jobs that american businesses have available today. a lot of things we need to do. >> [inaudible] >> we have a long list of things
we would like to deal with. i'm sure he's list is different than ours. i have been clear on immigration. we need to work in a bipartisan fashion like we have been to deal with this very complex issue. >> the violence against women act passed with a majority this year. do you think that will keep happening? what is your philosophy on that? >> listen, we tried everything we could to find -- keep the differences resolved. it was time to deal with the issue and we did. it does not a practice i expect to continue long-term. >> [inaudible] >> i think it is the biggest threat to the future of our country.
that is why there is focus on it. i hope that the president and the senate democrats will get serious on a bill that will solve our long-term spending problem. though we can do with other issues. thank you. >> questions t came up during te white house briefing. >> the house yesterday talked about a proposal to extend the c.r. the rest of the fiscal year. it includes some provisions that might soft and the sequester somewhat. the programs they selected may not be i get the same programs that democrats would select in either the house or the senate. what is the president's reaction to that? >> i do not have an official
position to provide to you today. i would point you to a couple of things. we believe that a c.r. should be practical and consistent with levels of the budget control act. it is our understanding on the last point that the c.r. is consistent with the levels of the budget control act. i would await for further response from us as experts examine and make assessments about it. our interest is not, you know, as long as these goals are met, we do not go headlong into another manufactured rices. we are focused on trying to find -- manufactured crisis. we are focused on trying to find a solution.
common sense. middle-of-the-road solutions that represent balance and have met the republicans halfway. he will continue to pursue that as we try to adjust the sequester and the bottoroader challenge of going on to a more sustainable path. >> a number of republican senators have said in the last several hours that the president -- is this a charm offensive? >> the president is engaging with lawmakers of both parties. he will continue to do so. i believe on friday he talked about the need for bipartisan work around common ground when it comes to reducing our deficit. we should achieve that.
he put forward a proposal that addresses the need for entitlement reform in a very serious away as part of a comprehensive wreckage that includes tax reform that would close tax loopholes and reductions in a way that house speaker boehner said was his position two months ago. both sides are for entitlement reform and tax reform. one of the issues of debate is what to do with the revenue gained them improving the tax code and closing unnecessary loopholes? do you take that and converted into tax cuts? or do you apply to the deficit reduction? that is the president's position. he is talking to members about a variety of issues and not just fiscal challenges. the fiscal issues are among the issues he is talking about with
lawmakers. >> has he been reaching out to -- or is the white house not being comfortable what the house is talking about this year? this might evolve into one of those manufactured crises? >> the c.r., if it meets in the test that i talk about, it would not -- we need to put ourselves on a fiscally sustainable path. that work remains to be done. the president is interested in finding members of the caucus of common sense and working with them to bring about a resolution to this challenge. we should be able to do it. he has put forward -- and
finally, i think there is some recognition. they insist that he does not have a plan and perhaps they do not have the internet in their offices, but a plan is available to all of you. it has lived through various incarnations. it remains on the table and available to be taken up. we hope it is. >> in a few moments, the senate of armed services committee hears from the heads of special operations and centcom. in about three hours, a discussion of automatic spending cuts will affect the defense department. looking out her live coverage tomorrow on our companion network c-span numeral three, in the morning the senate
judiciary committee will hear from attorney general eric holder. it will be at justice department oversight hearing at 9:30 a.m. eastern. at 2 p.m. eastern, a hearing on preventing military suicides. >> sherman did not want those thousands of free slaves, refugees behind the army. i forget the name of the river in georgia. he wanted to be rid of them. he had as many as 20,000 refugees. he wanted no black troops in the army. they reached liberty county. that is savannah. you can meet people who will tell you, this is where he was. when he got into savannah -- he
let his generals put out the word. there's his field order were sherman set aside 200 miles along the coast for the exclusive settlement of free people with promissory notes of a piece of land. that was the dream all of them had. it would not last. andrew johnson would remand order. >> civil war scholars on the contributions and sacrifices of africans. many who work and served and the army. part of american history tv this weekend on c-span 3.
>> that head of military operations in the middle east and central asia to members of congress that the u.s. should leave 14,000 troops in afghanistan after 2014. general mattis testified, along with admiral mcraven. this is three hours. [gavel] >> good morning, everybody. this morning's hearing is the first in our annual series of posture hearings that the combatant commanders, to receive testimony on the military strategy and operational requirements in their areas of responsibility. our witnesses are two extraordinary military leaders. general james mattis, commander u.s. central command, and
admiral bill mcraven, commander u.s. special operations command. on behalf of our members, please pass along to the men and women serving in both areas our sincere gratitude for their dedication and sacrifices and we also thank their families. whose support is so essential to the well-being of their loved ones, to the well-being of our nation. general mattis, this is your third and your last posture hearing before this committee. and this committee is favorably reported out your successor, general lloyd austin, to the full senate. general, we want to thank you for your more than 40 years of military service and your distinguished leadership of our armed forces. this year's posture hearings, with the combatant commanders, are being held under the specter of budget sequestration.
which threatens to impose arbitrary cuts on our military forces unrelated to our national security requirements. already sequestration is having an operational impact in the centcom with the defense department's postponement of the deployment of the u.s.s. hairy truman aircraft carrier to the persian gulf.-- harry truman aircraft carrier to the persian gulf. i hope general mattis and admiral mcraven will talk about the risks and associated with sequestration and the expiration of the continuing resolution. our transition strategy in afghanistan is entering a critical phase in the coming months. excuse me. afghan forces will move into the lead for security throughout afghanistan beginning this spring. this transition has been under way for some time. and afghan forces are already in
charge of security for more than 85% of the afghan people. this shift to an afghan security lead is exemplified by the statistic that in 2012 afghan forces for the first time suffered more casualties than coalition forces, as afghan security forces are stepping up, coalition forces are shifting to a support role. deploying security force assistance teams to advise and assist afghan units throughout the end of 2014, when the mission ends. casualties are down. and during a one-month stretch from mid january to mid february of this year, forces suffered no fatalities. but it seems the bad news out of afghanistan is splashed across the headlines while good news barely makes a ripple. the press gave wide coverage in december to the defense department report that found
only one of 23 afghan brigades was rated as independent. yet when senator reid and i visited afghanistan in january and talked to our regional commanders, we learned that afghan forces in the volatile and critical east region have been successfully conducting over 85% of the operations unilaterally, without coalition forces even being present. afghans want their own forces, providing for their security. and they have confidence in those forces. general mattis, the committee would be interested in your assessment of whether our mission in afghanistan is succeeding, whether our transition plan is on track and whether the afghan forces will be ready this spring to assume the lead for protecting the afghan people, excuse me, throughout the country.
last month president obama announced plans for withdrawing by february of next year. 34,000 of the 66,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan. as important as the size of the cuts in u.s. troop levels over the coming year is, the pace of those reductions is also important. the president has previously stated that cuts in u.s. forces would continue at a steady pace after the recovery of the u.s. surge force at the end of last summer. it's now being reported that the bulk of their withdrawal of the 34,000 troops is likely to occur next winter, after the 2013 fighting season. and we need to understand what the pace of u.s. troop withdrawal will look like and how it fits with the overall
transition strategy. looking ahead, significant challenges in afghanistan remain. fundamental to the country's stability will be a demonstrated commitment by the united states and the international community to an enduring relationship with afghanistan. i am encouraged by reports that nato defense ministers recently reconsidered plans to cut afghan security forces by 1/3 after 2014 and are now considering maintaining those forces at 352,000, at least through 2018. that sends an important signal of commitment to the afghan people, to the taliban and to afghanistan's neighbors. and pakistan needs to recognize that an unstable afghanistan is not in its interests and pakistan's continuing failure to address the safe havens for insurgents conducting cross- border attacks into afghanistan
will make it impossible for the united states to have a normal relationship with pakistan. in addition, the government of afghanistan needs to address its failure to deliver services and also the rampant corruption that undermines the afghanistan people's faith in their government's institutions. the cencom o.a.r. also presents other vexing challenges. iran's continuing pursuit of its nuclear program is one of the most significant national security issues of this day. i believe most of the members of this committee share president obama's view that all options, including military options, need to remain on the table and that preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is not only our policy but that we are determined to achieve that policy goal.
iran is also actively expanding their threat network that has promoted violence across the region in yemen, gaza, sudan, syria, iraq and elsewhere. iran continues to provide financial and material support through the revolutionary guard in to groups seeking to overthrow or undermine governments or terrorize innocent civilians. general mattis and admiral mcraven, you are the two commanders most involved in confronting these current challenges and planning for contingencies involving iran. we look forward to hearing your views on these matters. in syria, the death toll continues to rise daily. the mass atrocities committed by the assad regime over the past two years have solidified the commitment of all but a few in the international community that the required outcome in syria is that assad must go. the united states is the largest
contributor of nonlethal and humanitarian aid to the international response efforts, but these contributions have not been enough. general mattis, the committee looks forward to hearing your views on the situation in syria and to learn of what our closest allies in the region say about the possibility of extending additional aid to the opposition. the committee is also interested in our commander's reactions to recent reports about u.s. counterterrorism operations and whether more of these counterterrorism operations should be conducted under title 10 authorities. for example, secretary panetta said recently, quote, the advantage to it is that it becomes much more transparent in terms of what we're doing, close quote. he's referring of course to more counterterrorism operations being conducted under title 10 authorities rather than title 15.
john brennan in his recent confirmation hearing to be director of the c.i.a. stated that, quote, the c.i.a. should not be doing traditional military activities and operations and noted that, quote, on the counterterrorism front there are things the agency has been involved in since 9/11 that in fact had been a bit of an be aeration from its traditional role, closed quote. beyond the current conflict in afghanistan and the fight against al qaeda and its affiliates elsewhere, admirable mcraven has spent significant time developing his vision for the future of special operations. in light of the continuing high demand for special operations throughout the world and the focus of last year's defense strategic guidance on innovative, low cost and small footprint approaches to achieve additional -- excuse me, to achieve national security objectives, admiral mcraven has rightly focused on the need to
develop greater capabilities within our special operations forces, to engage with partner nation forces with the goal of confronting mutual security challenges before they become threats to the u.s. or our interests overseas. what the admiral calls enhancing the global special operations network. the committee looks forward to hearing about any changes to existing authorities that you believe would help you be more effective in these areas. our special operations personnel and their families continue to face the highest operational tempo in their history. i understand they have documented the negative impact of these repeated, high-stress deployments, including an increase in marital problems, substance abuse and suicides. and now has a standing task force dedicated to helping special operators and their families deal with these issues. admiral, the committee would
appreciate your assessment on the state of your forces and the adequacy of the support provided by the military services to address the unique challenges in the special operations community. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, a lot of the things you covered i was going to, so i'll just paraphrase some of the concerns. first of all, i appreciated the opportunity to meet with both of you and also appreciate your long years of service. but i think you'd have to agree, as we discussed, you probably have not faced a situation that you're facing today, we've already sustained and sequestration coming up, with the c.r. problems that are there, it is in fact unprecedented. i anticipate that this might be a possibility about six weeks ago. we introduced legislation that would allow the service chiefs
to make determinations as opposed to just a straight cut that would come with sequestration. i called all five service chiefs, include the guard, and asked them, if we were in a position where -- in taking the same top line, the cuts that are mandated for the military, if you could take that and operate within that and make determinations as to where those cuts would be, would that be less devastating than if you just went ahead and did it with a straight line cuts? they all said yes. the second question i asked them is, you know, do you have time to do that? between now and the next six weeks? as we approach the first of march. and they assured me that they did. so we're kind of looking at that right now. i'm hoping that we'll be able to pass this and give that added ability to make determinations within the same amount of money
that would be less devastating. general mattis, i think we look at cencom, one of the biggest problems there as we've talked about is iran. the influence continues to spread across the middle east into africa, europe and the pacific. they're developing more complex antiaccess and antidenial weapons than ever before. we all know that our unclassified intelligence said way back in 2007 that they are gaining this capability, nuclear capability, and they should have it by -- along with the delivery system by 2015. they're having a lot of influence over the surrounding areas. assad in syria is getting a lot of the stuff from iran. the flow of syrian refugees into jordan and lebanon will probably exceed more than a million as quickly as june of this year. so all of these problems are out there and we've talked about these and we know how serious it
is and it is unprecedented. admiral mcraven, you play an instrumental role in shaping our global counterterrorism campaign. despite our successes in the battlefield, al qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations remain resilient and have developed sophisticated networks that transcend national borders. so you've both got your work cut out for you and i can't think of two better people to take on this huge responsibility right now than the two of you. and i appreciate very much your service and what you're going to be rendering in this, that addresses our problems today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator. general mattis, let's start with you. >> mr. chairman, and ranking member inhofe, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify. i have submitted a written statement, request it to be accepted for the record. >> it will be. >> it's my privilege to appear alongside admiral bill mcraven.
we've worked together for many years and continue to do. so in the middle east we confront what is a significant risk to our interest in the region, specifically a perceived lack of enduring u.s. commitment. to counter this misperception, we must clearly communicate our intent and demonstrate our support through tangible actions. in afghanistan we are conducting a steady and deliberate transition. u.s. leadership among 50 nations fighting together in the largest wartime coalition in modern history provide continued support of the afghan security forces as they set conditions for their long- term success. iran remains the single most significant regional threat to stability and prosperity. reckless behavior and rhetoric characterize a leadership that cannot win the affection of its own people or the respect of any responsible nation in the region. iran's continued support to the murderous assad regime in syria, coupled with its maligned
activities in iraq, afghanistan, lebanon, bahrain, yemen and gaza and globally in sudan, turkey, azerbaijan, thailand, india, georgia, bulgaria, nigeria and even here in washington, d.c., in the attempt to kill the saudi ambassador, and elsewhere in the world, as well as in the cyberdomain, raises a risk of iran an miscalculation that could spark a disastrous conflict. as we address the very real challenges we collectively face, i am confident u.s. central command will continue working by, with and through our regional partners to ensure a measure of stability in the region. our military to military engagements, security cooperation efforts, exercise programs and information operations will continue to need your support, including innovative and flexible authorities and the necessary
funds so we can continue doing what is required to protect u.s. national security interests. as our nation confronts a period of fiscal austerity, our ability to adapt our ways and means to continue to meet our operational areas are impacted by three key factors. first, the need for budget certainty. right now i do not have any budget certainty. second, my need for time to adapt to reduced budgets and take the cuts smartly. specifically my third request is for flexibility to determine where to shift available funds in a manner that reduces risk and consistent with the intent of congress and of course much of that flexibility must be granted to the service chiefs. with your support and with the continued devotion to duty of our troops and the commitment of our military families, we will stand by our friends to maintain
a measure of reasonable stability in defense of our values and our interests. i look forward, mr. chairman, to answering your questions. >> thank you very much, general. admiral. >> good morning. mr. chairman, ranking member inhofe, distinguished members of the committee, i also appreciate the opportunity to address the committee today and talk about the magnificent work being accomplished around the globe by the men and women of the u.s. special operations command and i have also submitted a statement for the record. >> thank you. >> before i begin however i would like to recognize my colleague, my mentor and my friend, general jim mattis. in the coming months, mattis will be completing a 41-year career in the service of our country. during that time he has fought in every major conflict in his era. he has led soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines with a degree of caring, passion and professionalism that would make every american proud. mattis has always been known for two things. his incredible operational ac men and his candor.
-- acumen and his candor. i know of no other general who is as well versed in the art of war and no other man who speaks his mind the way jim mattis does. every warrior who has ever served by his side feels honored and privileged to have done so and i count myself in that group. jim, you have been particularly supportive of the men and women of special operations and on behalf of all those great warriors and americans everywhere, i salute you for your service and your sacrifice to this nation. it has been my distinct honor to have served with you. mr. chairman, this is my second opportunity to address this committee since i took command in the summer of 2011. since that time i'm proud to say we have continued the great work initiated by my predecessor and at the same time we have amended to the changing strategic and fiscal environment to keep relevant now and in the future. in afghanistan we developed a
new soft structure which brought it into alignment. this has allowed the special operations forces to have a common view of the enemy and synchronize our resolve. it has made soft even more effective than ever before. to partner with our afghan partners, we have trained afghan security forces so they can stand on their own against this determined threat. in addition to afghanistan special operation forces are in 78 countries around the world, at the request of those nations, we're helping to build their capacity and strengthen our partnership. in the 2012 defense strategic guidance, former secretary panetta wrote, we are shaping a joint force for the future that will be smaller and leaner, but will be agile, flexible, ready and technologically advanced. it will have cutting-edge
capabilities, exploring our technology, joint and network advantage. it will be led by the highest quality battle-tested professionals. it will have a global presence, strengthening alliances and partnerships across all regions. i believe the secretary's words speak to the core capabilities of s.o.c. and therefore socom is working with joint chiefs to ensure we are postured now and into the future to meet the objectives of this strategy. finally, i have made the caring for our force and their families my top priority. in the past year my command sergeant major and i have met with soldiers and their families from around the enterprise. we have listened to their concerns and we are aggressively implementing programs and plans to help for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the force. we have a professional and moral obligation to take care of our warriors and their families and we greatly appreciate the support of this committee and other members on the hill in our efforts to take care of these men and women.
thank you again for your commitment to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines and civilians for the department of defense and specifically for those great warriors who make up the special operations command. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you so much, admiral. we're going to have a seven- minute first-round. admiral, let me start with you. relative to afghanistan, we read -- read frequently that only one of 23 afghan brigades was rated as being at the highest capability level and that's independent with advisors. at the same time, we also know and have been to afghanistan. we know firsthand that 70-80% of
the operations that take place in many regions, including the toughest regions of afghanistan , our taking place with not just the leadership, but with afghan involvement. now, those reports seem to be inconsistent. can you tell us in your judgment whether or not first of asian succeeding in afghanistan? can you tell us about the capabilities of the afghan security forces? -- is our mission succeeding in afghanistan? can you tell us about the capabilities of the afghan security forces? >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thought i would start with
general mattis. >> our mission is succeeding. the afghan campaign is on track. it is a combination of progress in violence, but when it comes down to it, the afghan security forces are proving themselves capable. obviously when we were looking at the drawdown numbers, it was a certain amount of forecasting that the afghan forces would be capable. let me give you some statistic is to take us simply my evaluation. since the first of january, we have lost four u.s. troops in action. in the same time, the afghan forces have lost 98. there can be no doubt that the afghans are doing the bulk of the fighting. they're doing it with our support. as a result, i need to go back
and look at the statistics and how we are evaluating forces that are proving themselves in combat when we are saying that only one is capable of independent operations with our advisors. we might have to relook at how we are measuring them. they are proving themselves. we are continuing to see them mature. with our advisors, many from special forces and conventional war since -- forces, that sort of enabling function, we are seeing that these lads are willing to take it to the enemy. the telegraph has little reason -- the taliban has little reason for comfort right now. >> do support the reduction plan the president has announced further troops?
do you support that decision? >> the second part of your question -- >> the pace? >> the pace is what makes it possible for me to support it. the pace of drawing down the forces, it gives me a lot of confidence that we are on track. i support the pace and the number. >> when you mean what you are seeing in the afghan forces, you mean a positive trend in the capability, as well as the size? >> absolutely. 87% of the country is now under their lead. they are improving themselves in combat. yes or, i support it. >> -- yes, sir, i support it. >> what about the reduction of the afghan troops.
there was a goal to reduce them by 2015, i believe. i bought a third. that will not be be considered. -- that will be reduced by a third. that will now be reconsidered. >> yes, 352,000. i support that. that is a way to do it if we draw our forces down to make sure the enemy does not see an opportunity. >> relative to iran, most of us agree with the position the president has said that the military options need to be kept on the table to prevent iran from moving to nuclear weapons. are those military option plans being developed? >> those plans are fully developed. >> thank you.
>> syria, this question relates to arming the opposition in syria. should we provide legal assistance --lethal assistance to the syrian opposition? should we move to providing lethal assistance? >> chairman, the situation is so complex. i would have to get some degree of confidence that the weapons would not go to people who are enemies. that would be the one caveat that i would put to go forward along those lines. we do not want to inadvertently with the best intentions arm people were basically sworn
enemies. >> you say you would have to get some degree of confidence in order to make that recommendation? do you have that level of confidence yet? >> i do not. i have not been cast with this mission. i've not looked equally into this either. >> thank you. general, there is a real threat of violence for the christian communities in iraq. my question to you is whether or not in your judgment that iraq he security forces are taking the threat of violence against those christian community seriously and whether or not if they are not, what can we do to make sure that -- >> chairman, iraq is in a post- combat reconciliation situation,
i believe. they're still working out how to settle differences politically. so far they are in perfectly -- working without resorting to violence. as long as they continue to try to work these issues out politically, i believe in the long run, the rule of law and the political resolution of challenges that provide for all minorities in iraq the best opportunity to live safely. the military itself, when i see them in action trying to work it out, they appear to be willing to negotiate new talks and not to go to arms. i see them doing the same thing with the sunni troubles out west. that is the sort of role of the
military and the rule of law and not to try to provide -- as the sole solution. >> i hope you and your successor will look for ways that we can press the iraqis to protect minorities inside iraq. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in my opening statement, i talked about what we did. we headed up the effort to allow more flexibility for the chiefs. i spoke to the chiefs about this. i responded strongly -- they responded strongly. would we be able to reduce the devastation? do you agree with the comments?
any comments you would like to make about what kinds of things or arrangements we could do with the straight cuts? >> senator, i believe that if we had some degree of budget certainty to an appropriations bill that provides a continuing resolution does now so we know what we're dealing with, that like any household or business in america, we can make wise choices and the flexibility you're talking about with the critical to those choices. it would be consistent with the congressional intent. yes, we need that. >> it is written into the draft. the assurance that we will follow the legislative intent of this committee. it has that level of discipline
that they will be able to have some type of a congressional oversight over a veto power over decisions. that might be made if they were influenced in the wrong way. any comments on that? >> sir, i concur with the service chiefs. we have the same dilemma. i have a budget. my ability to manage the cuts the way they are line now is difficult. it is across the board cuts. any folks ability in dealing with those cuts would be -- any flexibility in dealing with those cuts would be much appreciated. >> the chairman mentioned to both of you about supporting arming the opposition in syria. you give your answer.
i would like to ask, what is your assessment for how long the assad regime can hold onto power in the sub region of syria? my understanding it is along the coast. maybe damascus. what is your assessment to how long he can hold onto power in that area? >> we're dealing with a fundamentally, unpredictable situation. his power base is eroding. his geographical base is eroding daily. is using missiles in order to impact those areas he has lost control on. the increase of those missiles over the last month or so has been evident. he is losing ground.
i really do not have the ability to forecast this. >> you know, there is more stuff that is coming out of iran. admiral mcraven, as we discussed in our meeting last week, we are seeing that al qaeda and other terrorist groups are developing networks that are increasingly complex. i think you are the one who stated that we can no longer go after terrorist groups on a country basis if we hope to be successful. i'm concerned about exactly what we have been doing. is our current counterterrorism strategy kept up with the increasing nature of al qaeda
and affiliate terrorist networks? >> senator, i think we understand the complexity of the al qaeda network. if you look in africa as an example, do you have -- you know that you cannot isolate a single organization and expect to solve the problem either locally but going after the problem in a particular country or by individual entities. >> you mentioned africa. mostly north africa. there is evidence throughout africa of the presence of terrorist groups. i think it is widespread.
last question. and that current efforts to stop iran from obtaining nuclear -- in the current efforts to stop iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, is it working? assume that they obtained nuclear capability. how would their behavior change after that? >> senator, you know what our policy is. i believe the reason for that policy is that he would be a more revolutionary cause. >> i think so as well. we talked about this in 2000 seven with her emerging capabilities and delivery
systems. -- 2007 with her emerging capabilities and delivery systems. it is getting worse. do you agree? >> i do. >> thank you. >> thank you for your extraordinary service to the nation. thank you. let me get by asking a question on afghanistan to both of you. president karzai declared that special operations could not operate in certain areas. is that -- does that affect the short or long run plans of part of our withdrawal? would interfere dramatically with your operations? >> i spoke with general dunford
are short time ago. that issue is being worked out. we are working this out as we speak. we would be reluctant to see our forces unable to operate there. at the same time, we need responsible people working with the resident. >-- president. >> going forward, the need to operate rather freely throughout afghanistan through special operations is central to with drawal plans? >> it is not just reversing it. it is crafting how best to operate for that province, which is a key route. it is still in place. i can get back to you once a decision is made. >> the largest issue is the
extent, the planens. is the robusta, special operations capacity that could operate throughout the country. -- a robust, special operations capacity that could operate throughout the country. >> one is counterterrorism and the other is assisting the afghans in their character is him -- in their counterterrorism efforts. >> sir, the special operations forces we have in afghanistan are partnered. as you look at special operations forces, you cannot look independently at u.s. our nato forces alone. we have afghan special forces that are out there. there is a network that is being applied across the area of operations to deal with that threat. >> let me ask another question
going forward. there is an issue of the size and pace of the force. there is an issue of the role of the force. there has been some discussion that these residual forces who would be institutional based training only and not embedded with afghan forces. do you have embedded forces with them? or is it going to be institutional trainers and basis? >> we will have to watch how the afghans mitscher. at the current rate they are becoming quite impressive in their ability, so we have got
some time left as we get them to the step of where we will withdraw. we will figure out what level of imbedded has to be there and what levels the nato forces will get too. >> a final question. you still retain the capability in that region if there is a high-value target as you go forward in terms of whether or not there is access to certain places. you can do the from aerial bases or land platforms. does that capabilities exist? >> it does. >> many people assume the assad regime is deteriorated probably. what planning is going on for any type of stability
operations to prevent a descent into anarchy that would not disrupt those regions? >> -- that would disrupt whole region? >> we have some planning to see what regional leadership could take on this mission. clearly, it would be best accomplished with the regional organization after the russians regrettable a veto, we have fewer options in terms of our un efforts, but of the same time, there are regional organizations and maybe able to take this on. we are doing some planning and getting a framework for what this could look like. >> what you think the reactions
of the iranians would be to a collapse of the assad government. >> it would be the biggest strategic upset in 25 years. i believe they would armed militias inside the country and try to create the hezbollah affect, and they would not double their efforts. i think that is a strategic claim. >> part of our reaction the bill would be to plan for that contingency explicitly? >> we are, senator. >> thank you very much. >> i appreciate your service. i notice you passed around the area of responsibility.
it ranges from kazakhstan in the north down to yemen. about half the population who in egypt. >> i think it is well over a third. >> we just had an amendment to weeks ago offering a storm relief bill on the floor of the senate appeared in would have prohibited our sale of f-16 aircraft from the united states to the egyptian military. did you follow that? >> yes, i did. >> senator mccain made an impassioned plea not to abandon the chance of improved
relationships with the military. i voted with him on 52 not abandon our sale of f-16s to egypt. what is your device going forward? we may have to take more advise a. what would our chances to be of having a meaningful relationship with the egyptian military? >> i strongly support senator mccain's position. one of the best ambassadors in the foreign service also endorsed it. the bottom line is the egyptian military has maintained and
even build trust with the egyptian people. they have made clear their expectation egypt will maintain international treaties. that includes with israel. there are people who provide extra security and when my ships go through the suez canal. the god that area has not been this quiet in 10 years, and in no small part of the egyptian military is doing quiet operations -- the gauze area has not been this quiet in 10 years. >> what do you think the advice of the israeli government would be to policy makers such as us with regard to the of 16 say alabama -- the f-16 sale?
i have gotten a lot of male and females -- mail and emails. they say, how could you agree to the sale of f-16s to egypt when it could be so harmful of israel? what would your answer be to that? >> i will not speak to what israel says about this, but i will tell you the chief of defense was in my office a week ago, and this did not come up. as far as how to respond to your constituents, it is the egyptian military that is a bulwark against the extremist threats against israel, against egypt, against all of them, so the egyptian military committed
along side the government but had been very outspoken about maintaining the international peace treaty, so it should not be seen as an enemy. it should be seen as a stabilizing force in the region, unlike the military and libya, unlike the military and syria. we have a military that did not act that way when egypt went through its mission. >> let me switch to something. i had to step out of the room to meet with a distinguished group of retired admirals and generals. are you familiar with this coalition? >> very little. >> they are a group of more than
120 retired admirals, and they are coming to meet with members of congress not about the military budget but about the international affairs budget, what we call foreign aid, and their message to me was what some people might call a surprise message. we need to be careful about cuts in foreign aid, and we view it as working hand in glove with our security operations you gentlemen are involved in, so i wonder if you would comment on than. if you have observed the international development budget is helpful in providing national defense for our country. >> i would start with the department of state budget, and they need to be as fully funded
as congress believes appropriate, because if you do not fund the state department fully, i need to buy more ammunition, so i deakin -- i think it is cost benefit. the more we put into state department diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget if we deal with the outcome of an apparent american withdrawal. >> i understand the question was asked with regard to sequestration, and the advice you have is we need to go ahead with the appropriation bill for the entire fiscal year. we need to go ahead with the
full appropriation bill for the entire fiscal year. let me make sure i get this answer. would flexibility help you in getting through the sequestration issue? if congress gave you not arbitrary cuts but that the ability to pick and choose, would you be better off in forming your missions? >> the full appropriations bill would give us they flexibility you referred to. it would be critical to the service chiefs that carry out their responsibilities. >> it would allow us to manage our money to those areas that are at the most high risk. it would be very beneficial. >> thank you. thank you for your service. recently the navy announced that it was going to delay the
deployment of an aircraft caria over into the aor because of the sequestration threat. >> our ships are expensive. we all know that. she will be maintained at an enhanced readiness level. i was on board u.s. as harry truman and spoke with kevin sweeney about two weeks ago. he assures me it will be able to deploy on short notice. i have one carrier out there. i would caution any enemy that might look it as an opportunity to take advantage of the situation that it would be very ill-advised. if the president orders it, i
have what it takes to make it the enemy's longest and worst day. >> but the president decided that the second carrier needed to be out there, what is the transit time? >> into a deployed faster than it is required to. i believe they would be out of court faster and with take about 14 days to get there. >> even if you cut the 21 days in half, say down to 10 days plus 14, you are talking a total of 24 days before it could be on the station. >> that is correct. >> when was the harry truman scheduled to depart?
>> it was about two weeks ago. i would have to give you a specific date. >> i asked for the obvious reasons. here is a good example of what you all have planned in the way of readiness because of some ridiculous and budgetary ultimate decision is because you do not have the second carrier out there. would that carrier have the opportunity to be diverted into the mediterranean instead of going to the persian gulf region? >> that would be up to the secretary of defense would to the combat and commander gets. they end up boarding personnel.
i am sure i could get it. coming back to syria, which is in your aor, and that's why i asked about sending it to the mediterranean as opposed to the persian gulf, it seems as if we have a solid and on the other hand we have a group that is fighting assad. they are trying to take over. this does not give us much of a choice between those two. do you have any reason that the anti-assad forces are going to win out? they are more amenable to us? >> they have a good propaganda campaign.
they are using their weaponry. there are looking here to dig their routes into this. at the same time they have a philosophy that is not admired by a lot of the people who are fighting assad. it could be very messy. the regional powers obviously have no truck. i think you will see more support continued for the elements. it is the intertwining that concerns me. >> you want to characterize for the committee any setbacks of
sequestration on your ability to deploy special operations troops anywhere where there might be a flare-up? >> we have the perfect storm with the continuing resolution. right now the cr hurts us more than the sequestration right now. the cr is about $1.5 billion. i am unable to manage some of the issues in terms of the new starts and some of the adjustments that need to be made. the cr not only precludes me from spending at the 2013 level but limits what i am able to do.
if you add sequestration for me, it is about a 23% cut in the available resources. it is a function of readiness but not necessarily ready this for deployment. it is coming at the expense of our training base back in konas. i think i can manage this with the resources we have. we are beginning to create a readiness problem if we do not resolve the cr or have a opportunity to manage the sequestration money. i am reducing some of my deployment going forward. it is a perfect storm of fiscal problems for us. >> last year the defense department transition, the
defense human service to the defense clandestine service, how do you anticipate this is going to affect the operations? >> we have been working with the defense intelligence agency to help support the movement forward of the clandestine service. i prefer to talk in closed session on some of the details. in total, we think it is a very good plan. we like the initiative the plan does. it puts us in the position to have more collectors supporting the defense intelligence agency. i am very much behind it. >> in the past, you and the cia have gotten along so well. there is some concern about the two stepping on each other as you are moving forward with dcs. >> we are working very closely
with this. we understand our lane is in the road. the dcs is about military intelligence. i am comfortable. i think senior leadership would tell you they are very comfortable with the clandestine service. >> thank you very much. >> i want to thank both of our witnesses for their distinguished service to our country. we will miss you. thank you for everything you have done for our country. senator inhof has your opinion
on whether current efforts will stop iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability. i believe you said no. if that is the case, the economic sanctions that we have imposed on iran are having a very significant negative impact on their economy and currency. if current diplomatic and economic sanctions will not stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities, what do you think they are doing now with negotiations? are they trying to delay us again? >> ma'am, i fully support the diplomatic isolation. i still support the direction we are taking. i am paid to take a rather dim view of the iranians, frankly. >> it is understandable why you would take a dim view. i dare say that we cannot think
of another country that is doing more damage in terms of terrorism around the world and hurting our interests and allies. would you agree? >> i would agree surely with what you just said. >> what is their history in terms of using the negotiations to delay and continuing to enrich? do they have a history of doing that? >> they have a history of denial and deceit. >> the group offered to that we would back off on some of the
sanctions if they agreed to keep enrichment levels at 20%. iran, we were not able to come to an agreement there. >> they agreed to meet again. i think this was the negotiations. there is nothing final about it. >> here is our problem. if they had a history of using negotiations while they are marching toward a nuclear weapon and we know how dangerous they are, how do we stop this pattern to make sure they know that we are serious, that we will not accept them having a nuclear weapon? >> i think the more we can accommodate a larger coalition against them i believe in some ways we have to recognize iran's legitimate security interests so they are not any
process to use a legitimate means to address their legitimate during the interest. need to continue everything we are doing. the president is taking no option off the table. >> how important is it that we stop iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon? >> i would suggest echoed the president's words. he said it is unacceptable. i believe it is absolutely important. >> based on your position on a scale of 1-10 in terms of danger to the world and our country, where would you put them obtaining nuclear weapon?
>> ma'am, it would be dangerous because it would enable iran to continue to act like a revolutionary cause instead of an irresponsible country. they would since your limitations and more and vulnerability conducting the kind of attacks that killed tourists and bulgaria i believe we would see more of this irresponsible reckless behavior. >> given we continue to enrich, why would we not consider cutting off negotiations and saying "here is the bottom- line?" i fear we will be at a point where they have nuclear weapons capability and then it is too late. >> it would be too late for our stated policy that they are not to achieve a nuclear weapons capability. i believe the negotiations are critical as we build an international consensus against
them and sustain that. they are going to have to confront the unproductive aspects of what they're doing for their own interest. >> we have a press the economy dramatically. they have huge negotiations as a delay tactic. insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. this is a danger to the world in terms of their terrorism activity. that is what i worry about. >> they have a resistance
economy. they are trying to raise a sense of martyrdom as a nation. that is a very dangerous type of self view if they were to get a nuclear weapon. i do not think we should stop negotiations. while negotiating, i have received additional forces in the gulf by the decision of the secretary of defense to ensure we are ready to reassure our friends that we mean business. >> thank you very much. we all share the concern. we voted on a resolution saying containment is not the policy. this has been overwhelmingly bipartisan issue.
we will not accept them having a nuclear weapon. i worried they're using negotiations to delay. i want to ask you a brief question on a section 841. it was copied and work we did together. we recently visited afghanistan on could january and talked to the major general about the impact of those provisions. he indicated it would be helpful in cutting off funds to the enemy when contractors were there. we are working on an effort to extend beyond afghanistan to others come back in command and to think about extending it to
other agencies including the state department. i wanted to get your opinion on that. >> i fully support both the letter in the spirit of what was in there. we did have to look in there. it was not with the contract. we found some things that were disappointing. i can tell you it has been very helpful to focus on that area. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you both for being here. i know that i have some specific questions i will not have time for today about afghanistan infrastructure fund and the notion it is very hard to build infrastructure inside of a contingency by our military without money getting to the enemy because of the huge costs
of security. the problem here is not just contracting with the enemy. they passed these into law. it is about whether or not the strategy should in fact include infrastructure. should it include major projects that i am going to have some specific questions about metrics being produced to support the notion that it is an effective part of counterinsurgency efforts. i am going to talk to you about something that is, i'm going to talk about the years of service. this is something not directly related. my background includes handling dozens and dozens of the jury trials as a prosecutor of the difficult sexual assault and rape cases.
i've taken an acute interest on the pervasive problem of prosecuting sexual assault in the military. i feel a sense of urgency because of what happened last week. a colonel was convicted by a jury, a military jury, of sexual assault. he was sentenced to dismissal, forfeiture of pay, and one year in jail. with a stroke of a pen last week, a general dismissed those charges against him. a general with no legal training, a general that had not been in the courtroom, and he did it against the advice of his legal counsel. my heart is beating fast right now.
i am so upset about this. as fear trying to send a signal to women, the victim was not a member of our military. i question now whether that unit that the man returns to, whether there's any chance a woman who is sexually assaulted would ever say a word. what he said is that the jury's decision did not matter. the rules actually say that the convening authority not only has complete discretion on whether the case is brought but the convening authority also has the right to either reduce punishment or dismiss the cases for "any reason or no reason at all." is it time as we understand the majority of homeless women in
this country are veterans and if the majority of them had some form of sexual assault that we look at the ucmj and decide that we need to have something other than the arbitrary decision of one general without any other supervising authority or procedure that is necessary to overturn the very difficult decision that the jury came to? >> i do not know the specifics of this case. i've always been reluctant to comment on something where i do not know it. some of you are aware of the high visibility court cases i superintended. i have read 9500 pages of investigations before i have made decisions. let me assure you that the supreme court has upheld what congress has passed for the ucmj recognizing the unique aspects of the military. in this case, there are rights
provided to defendants in the military because no court system is more subject to being characterized as a kangaroo court than 1 where military officers who are in command also initiate it. in this case, i cannot speak to the specifics. i can assure you that justice is overwhelmingly served by the currently constituted ucmj. was not just responsible for prosecution i was also responsible for defense. commanders must balance those of those of we are to have a fair system. i do not know the specifics of this case. i do not want to be drawn in for support on something i really
cannot address. >> let's set aside the specifics. do you think that after a jury has found someone guilty and dismiss someone for the military for sexual assault that one person over the size of their legal counsel to be able to say never mind? don't you think something ought to change? the ability of a prosecutor or defense lawyer or the person they both work for calm at the notion that they could unilaterally say never mind. when that is something that most, especially when you realize how serious this problem is, i think that the military needs to understand that this could be a tipping point. they could rise up, particularly the women, and say i do not think one general should be able to overturn a jury.
>> the women commanders have this authority for a vested reason. we can look beyond the one case. >> i think i can bring you a lot of cases. cases were not brought, were victims were not taken seriously. there is a culture issue that will have to be addressed. what this decision did was put an exclamation behind the notion that if you are sexually assaulted in the military, and good luck.
>> i would just tell you that my troops generally know what i stand for. they have no doubt what i will not tolerate. i am not unique in this. you show a someone who conducts themselves in a criminal manner and i am dry i'd like to my beloved troops in jail the rest of their lives for all i care. >> in some ways i am sad this occurred right before this hearing. my time with the today is covering this. i have great respect for the leadership of the military enter service. please do not misinterpret this as anything other than a high degree of frustration into a system that appears
unaccountable to the thousands of victims who are struggling for a piece of justice. >> thank you very much. >> there is accountability for every general under my command. general welch will be hearing from me. it is interesting that both of these people are fighter pilots. they both have served together. that is more appearance and proprietary. >> this is the chair of the, this is broader than sexual authority.
this may be an inappropriate time to raise it. we will ask the general counsel, bob taylor, to address this issue. it is part of the no reason at all language that is in the ucmj and to give this committee to a source of this language. they are convening that so that no language at all. i do not want to move in a different direction than you want to go. i think it will be helpful to ask them that question. >> thank you. >> thank you for your indulgence. let's be clear about this cut. we're still looking at $43 billion in cuts.
no matter whether you have the flexibility are not, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. >> we're going to have to change our strategy. we cannot maintain it. >> the $43 billion is still a devastating blow. >> i do not want the enemy to feel brave right now. i can still deal with them. >> to somehow say this problem goes away because you are given flexibility is not accurate. is that true? >> that is correct. >> i want to say thank you for your service. thank you for the inspiration you have provided for the men and women who have served under you. thank you for your service to the country. on the issue of syria, we are now at 70,000 people who have been massacred.
the risk of spillover into lebanon and jordan is obvious. 42 syrian soldiers yesterday being murdered in iraq. everything that we worry about if we intervene has taken place because we did not intervene. would you buy that argument? >> i am not certain we could have prevented all of it. >> have we seen a worse case scenario?
>> it is the further fragmentation of the country. >> you want to make sure you get the weapons to the right people to support such a move. >> yes, sir. >> isn't the best way to give them a no-fly zone and let them establish themself as the libyans did in benghazi? >> yes, sir, that would be a way to do that. >> the flow of jihadists into the country continues unabated. the revolutionary guard is on the ground. >> they are on the ground and bring in other foreign fighters. >> the russians are providing weapons.
>> yes, sir. >> would you call that an unfair fight? >> right now assad -- >> we refuse to do something. >> there are regional partners that we have that are taking action. >> many of those weapons are going to the wrong people. >> yes, sir. >> let me switch to afghanistan. what was your recommendation for the troop levels? >> we did not use numbers. we want to know what conditions we are expected to do. 34,000, which i do support so
long as the pace left them there through the fighting season. >> did that happen? >> it did. >> what about the residual force? >> my recommendation is for 13,600 forces. >> how many nato? >> around 50% of what we provide. >> back to iraq. are you concerned about the unraveling of iraq with the schisms between the kurds, the continued attacks that take
place in increasing polarization of the suny shia situation in places like mosul, where you have everybody there. do you think the situation would have been better if we left a residual force there? >> hard to say if the would have been better. i share the concerns about the schisms and the kurds. al qaeda it continues with its campaign. the shelling of the capital city shows they're not above going back to work their own way. in perfectly as it is, they are still the parts of the body politic in iraq they are talking with each other.
it is still a level of violence that is slightly below what it was when we were at there overall. >> barzani told me he had not spoken with maliki. that is beside the point. could we take out the assets with cruise missiles? >> not all of them. they have a number of mobile systems. we could take got a fair amount. >> the patriots could defend a no-fly zone? >> there are a. defense weapon -- they are a
point defense weapon. >> airpower is an important factor in assad being able to hang on. i am concerned about the withdrawal to the coast and the wonder what you think about the likelihood of that might be. >> it is and economically unstable enclave. it could create a longevity for the regime if they were to lose damascus. that right now is something we have to consider. you will see kind of a two-step.
i believe the iranians are helping them to get established. >> i've had the great honor of being associated with some outstanding military leaders. i know you will contribute to continue to our nation's security. >> thank you very much. on the democratic side -- on the republican side, lee, fisher, blunt, graham. >> our colleague senator kane is afraid you forgot they are there. they all look panic and i'm feeling for them.
>> number 5 and 6 and 7 and eight and i should have said the next four. senator joe manchin. >> thank you. thank you for being here. congratulations on your retirement. i know there was a lot going back and forth. if you knew you had flexibility and had to do the cuts, would you been able to deploy the harry s. truman on time? >> i would have to know better what the navy confronts. >> so much said about the amount of money that we spend in the department of defense versus other countries. a quick scenario on the
difference of our cost? they say the next 10 or 15 developing nations did not spend as much as we do. >> part of it is we are the gold standard. we set the standard from weaponry to the training and to the coherence of our force, the cohesion of our force that believes they are the best of the world because of the support of the hill. we also have a global responsibilities. i was born into this time. i'm often impressed and i say, sir or your highness or mr. president, how much other countries look to us to reassure them that they can follow their better instincts and not have to accommodate some pretty ugly situations in their
region. >> i find that the military is losing many of its talented people to private contractors. they are being lured away by the higher salaries. >> was truitt back at the beginning of the war -- that was true back at the beginning of the war. we were losing a number of our senior nco's. that has tapered off considerably. right now our sessions rate is as good or better than they have ever been and our retention is equally high. >> either one of you can speak to this.
if you compare it pakistan's actions and how we are working with them as an ally, i can only imagine what your thoughts if iran is able to achieve the same status with nuclear- weapons. i'm sure we would be looking at pakistan differently but i would assume your greatest fear is iran have in this nuclear arsenal. >> that would be the most disabling event for the middle east. >> the vietnam war came to a close much quicker than this war. if anyone anticipated we would
still be going at this 13 years, it brings up the question for discussion. a combined hybrid of the draft and the services that we have now. i know we would not be in a war 30 years if moms and dads have the input they had back then. >> senator, i will not take issue with what you just said. the all volunteer force has drawn us apart but this threat is real. the shia side declared war on us in the 1980's and continue today. al qaeda it is how you know
them. they tried to take down the trade towers and took them down the second time. it is a real threat and america has been willing to meet real threats. i think we would still be here. i think the enemy would force the issue. >> we will be fighting the war on terror for generations to come. we were in afghanistan and move to iraq. i would rather we get out quicker and rebuild america. look at the dam that we built in the 1950's. we went back and rebuilt it again.
we spend $70 million to finish the project. the inspector general doubts that we can do that if we gave them $70 million. the money we're putting into and infrastructure that they are unable to maintain. are we moving away from that strategy? >> i will allow general mattis to address the dam issue. we work with our partners abroad. we partner with about 78 nations on any day on the calendar. we're doing minor construction. be able to build schools and help with small infrastructure projects are critical to building our credibility with the host nation.
>> we're not allowed to branded as made by u.s. we're not even getting credit for that. all the other things, schools or the water supplies and things of that sort. we were afraid or they were afraid to put our name on it and give us credit. >> i would say it is on a case by case basis. i have a great relationship with aid. we take our lead from the u.s. ambassador and get together with their foreign assistance folks
and we build a plan collectively that makes sense. we think it is more sensitive to allow the locals to receive credits. it is not one size fits all, sir. >> thank you, a very much. i want to thank senator fisher. her generosity is noted. senator lee. >> thank you for all your do. general mattis, i wanted to talk about syria. you mentioned the dire situation in syria and the fact that there is a certain amount of disunity among the opposition groups.
i would like to get your assessment on syria and iran just to a couple of questions. what can you tell us about the composition and the objectives of the opposition forces in syria? what can you tell me about the extent to which they have a vision for the future of a post- assad syria? >> the opposition is not completely unified. it is becoming more unified day- by-day. they believe assad has got to
go. there is some populist extremist views as well as the ones we would find along the lines of how we like to see syria, out of the civil war. the vision that some of them have is inconsistent with what we would like to see. these are the jihadists elements, the foreign fighters that want to create another chaotic background where they can put in their roots and have a new place to operate. >> what is your sense to where the center of gravity is? is that were the center of gravity is? >> well, sir, when you look at the national coalition -- i have to refer to my notes -- you have the soc. those are one and the same
's done, the government runs out of money on march 27th. this is live coverage here on c-span 3. make themselves available. i also recognize some of what we're going to do today, notwithstanding i have yet to speak with the ranking member, mrs. slaughter, but a storm is headed our way, and a snowstorm, and as we speak today, what we're trying to do is to get this quickly to the floor of the house of representatives. i'm not going to ask that you change your testimony in any way, but with a recognition that this committee is here to hear your testimony to muay expeditiously, so as members are watching this, it gives them and their staffs an opportunity to
know we are going to move rather quickly on the important legislation that we have here today. i want to thank both chairman rogers and ranking member lowy for successfully completing what i think has been a difficult task of working not just together, but toward an effort that was the same effort and that is to give this body an opportunity to speak clearly about producing a proposal to fund the federal government for the remainder of the year to make sure that fiscal constraints are properly taken care of, but also we give the certainty to the american people we are doing our job, we are working well together and fulfilling our possibilities with fewer resources, as we know with sequestration is painful and harder. with that said, millions of hard-working american families have done these same things over
the past few years as the economic times have placed hurdles in front of them and obstacles that they have to meet, and we did not shirk our responsibility either. the continuing resolution before us is important. it includes bipartisan and bicameral agreements, which we are going to hear about today. i have been dealing with the gentleman, the chairman of the committee, for months on. he kept me updated and told me constantly the progress he was making, the hurdles that needed to be gone over, and i am very pleased we are going to fund defense and veterans programs, we're going to live within our means, but we're going to make sure military readiness is not taken advantage of. national security capacities and other things are important, but so are our troops and our mission and our ability to make sure we speak clearly as a
congress. i believe the legislation before us today accomplishes many things that speak clearly to the american people and looking for leadership in washington, that both of you have and are providing. with this measure we're going to move beyond the fy-13 funding issues and devote our efforts to developing a budgetary road map into the future. i think it will lay the foundation for us to continue working together. and we know that there are other pieces of the budget that need to be dealt with. dealing seriously with them is always important. two things, then i'm going to get us going in the hearing. number one, it's important that we recognize the honorable bill young, who is not here yet, but bill, who has added his years of service to this great body and
as the appropriations subcommittee chairman for defense is expected to be here today. and i want to make sure that if he chooses to be heard from that we do that. i want to offer full support of what chairman rogers has done to make sure that the men and women of the military, through bill young and through both of you, have been heard. next that there have been issues that have been brought up in the media, have been brought up by my conference, you're conference, mr. chairman, where people are questioning what is sequestration going to do, when does it fall, what does it do. i think you've been very clear publicly and privately to state what the answer is. so, i instructed my staff to make sure that i could say that under the joint explanatory
statement, section 3002 it indicates the sequestration under section 251-a of the balance budget emergency deficit control act of 1985 is applied to the amount provided in the act. that would mean that notwithstanding where we are, sequestration falls first and then the net, which we are dealing with then occurs. lastly, a very dear friend of mine, and we welcome people to the committee on a regular basis, but a very dear friend of mine, gentleman sits on the board of southwestern university where i went to school and where he went to school. had lunch today, blake stanford with the southwest human development services board. it's a food bank in austin, texas, and he cares much about the farm bill and was speaking with me about that, but he's speaking clearly about helping people who need our help.
and blake, i want to thank you for being here today. if you put your hand up, people in the committee can see you. blake stanford, my honored and dear guest. we were not fraternity brothers, but in fraternity houses right next to each other. judge, i would let you guess accordingly how much fun we had when we were in school. i do not see our ranking member at this time, but i would yield to the gentleman if he would wish to make a statement on behalf of the minority. >> no, mr. chairman, i think we should get right to the testimony. >> we'll just go to that. both of you, mr. rogers, ms. lowe, welcome to the rules committee. as each of you know from the testimony you've given on a regular basis, we would take any written statement that you have and would wish you to be acknowledged at this time, the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. chairman, members of the committee. thank you much for the welcome here. this is the first chance that we
have had to work together. the new ranking member of the -- >> mr. chairman, is your microphone turned on there? >> let me get closer. first chance we've had a chance to work together. the new ranking member of the committ committee. the first female ranking member of our committee. i've known her for a long time and we'll work together even as her predecessor, norm dickson, and i did. we have a commitment to get back to regular order, pass individual bills, and allow members a chance, therefore, to avoid a c.r. and be able to debate the individual merits of each bill. that's our goal. mr. chairman, we're here today, as you have said, to present this bill a continuing
resolution. to provide funding for the balance of this fiscal year until september 30th, and to provide a full year appropriation for the departments of defense and veterans affairs. as you know, the current six-month c.r. expires march 27th, so we have to move quickly, get it over to the senate, and ultimately on to the white house. as you know, the white house has indicated it does not want a government shutdown, and we all agree on that principle. consequently, mr. chairman, i would request an appropriate rule to bring this bill to the floor. the bill continues current funding levels as set out by the budget control act. however, sequestration, as you know, is now in effect and the levels in this bill are subject to those reductions. therefore, the effective funding
level in this bill is about $984 billion, as required by the president's sequestration order. hr-933 has three main parts, to protect our national security and ensure that our troops and veterans receive quality care. the package provides full-year appropriations for defense, military construction, and veterans affairs. these bills were the ones that we passed through the house back in december with a hefty bipartisan vote and then agreed to by the senate appropriation committee. fully negotiated on a bipartisan and bicameral basis in december that will provide d.o.d. with some leeway to do the best it can with the funding that is given to it subject to sequestration. and, of course, continuing appropriations funding is
included for the remainder of the government. without this bill, the pentagon could face serious funding shortfalls, that when combined with sequestration would have serious and potentially harmful repercussions in our national security interests. we had the testimony of all of the joint chiefs before our committee two days ago. we had a chance to question them, along with others. all of them said that it's absolutely critical that we pass this bill. and they expressed very strong public support for this c.r. package. the bill makes critical investments in our national security, protecting core functions like operations to help insure the continued readiness of our military. for va, the bill provides about
$2.5 billion increase to make sure we continue to do our best to take care of our veterans. what we're doing with this legislation is right sizing our military and veterans spending to insure funding goes where it's best and most effectively used. in addition, we made specific technical changes only where absolutely necessary to prevent catastrophic, irreversible changes to programs and insure good shepherding of taxpayer dollars, so-called anomalies. for instance, we've allowed additional funding for embassy security in light of the benghazi attacks. offset by reduction in other spending, and we've worked to insure that critical law enforcement functions, including border patrol and fbi are continued. we've also extended the federal pay raise, which as you know, pay freeze, which as you know
has effectively frozen the pay of you and me and every member of congress. along with other employees. in addition, i've submitted a very technical amendment that i would ask the committee to include in the rule. the amendment simply adds the required appropriating clause to division b of the bill, which was inadvertently left out some days ago. it's abundantly clear that this nation is facing some very hard choices when it comes to how to deal with our finances. it's up to congress to pave the way for our financial future. but right now this bill is absolutely necessary if we're to avoid a government shutdown. we must show our people that we can do what is best for our country, keeping the government's lights on, funding essential federal programs and services, and helping maintain our national security.
thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. your words fall upon ears that are eager to hear that the men and women of our troops, their families, as well as veterans, will be included and taken care of properly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to appear today, but i do wish we could have reached a different outcome on the fiscal year 2013 spending bills and sequestration. it's unconscionable to me congress let those cuts go in effect march 1st, and they will have a staggering effect. i want to also emphasize that i was at the hearing of the defense subcommittee of appropriations, and every single
chief of every single service led by general, et cetera, made it absolutely clear that the sequester would be a disaster for the military. i want to say this again. i'm very pleased that the defense subcommittee and the mill-con subcommittee had some discretion when the chair decided to include the fy-13 levels. but each of these people made it clear that the sequester would be a disaster for them. now, i understand that chairman rogers faces a very difficult task, however, i do regret that we find ourselves here today with a package that really only addresses the needs of two agencies, the defense department and the veterans administration,
while leaving every other program and agency operating under last year's guidelines. in particular, operating under last year's funding levels will delay implementation of the affordable care act, will obstruct enforcement of the dodd-frank act, will underfund head start child care public housing operating funds. in addition, the bill hinders nitsa's efforts to develop technology to detect and prevent drunk driving and denies the requested increases to control health care fraud and abuse. nearly everything in these bills faces the deep indiscriminate cuts from sequestration, including the department of defense. the president will sign a bill that addresses key priorities across all of the appropriation bills, whether that means full
bills or additional anomalies. the white house has made clear, however, that they do not favor the house approach. our colleagues in the senate have great hopes about amending this package by attaching several of the bills in place of the c.r. and including additional anomalies. we all hope they will succeed. i want to conclude with an important thought, chairman rogers and i have known each other for quite a few years. we've served on the appropriations committee together for many years. i was listening to "morning joe" on msnbc. i don't know how many of you wake up in the morning and turn up "morning joe." distinguished former member of congress and of the republican persuasion, and he said, it's time for the appropriations committee to get back to work.
there is no question in my mind that if chairman rogers and i sat down with input from all of the ranking members of the committee, we could write a bill that wouldn't have these real cuts, that would make sure we're doing justice to defense, to mill-con, and all the other major needs in our community. i mentioned head start, pre-k community health centers, et cetera. so, i hope that day will come, mr. chairman, when we can sit down as we used to and really constructively put together an appropriations bill that we can be proud of that we know won't be subject to a sequester, which is just blindly cutting across. and i lastly want to repeat what i said before. at the defense hearing, subcommittee on defense, every
surface made it clear that the sequester would be a disaster for them. and general made the point he joined the service when our military was hollowed out. he never thought that this could happen again. thank you. i look forward to the time when we can continue to work together and put together a bill without a sequester that we can all be proud of. thank you, mr. chair. >> ms. lowey, thank you very much. the place we find, each of us find ourself and our country, is a difficult one. and as we work together and work through these tasks, it is important to see that your leadership, along with chairman rogers, along with bill young, who has now joined us. bill, we were talking about you a few minutes ago. it is a great honor to have you
with us today, and thank you for taking time to come up here in the rare air of the rules committee to join us once again. you buoy us with not only your leadership, but your presence today. each of us are dealing with circumstances that i think none of us wish we were. the facts of the case are that we are spending money that we borrow, and when you borrow money to run the operations, whether it's a family or whether it's a business or whether it's a government, at some point you've got to pay it back. our government will spend around $275 billion a year that we will pay on interest. and in a normal year where interest rates were different, that could move to $500 billion a year. and this means that my children and others will have a
diminished opportunity to have freedom and make the american dream work. so, this member is no different than any member up here. we wish we weren't in this role, but we are. so i can say you two have given us a direction, albeit with a great head lamp, for a future. i'm glad we're coming to an agreement to move forward. as chairman rogers said, he's tried to do this on a bipartisan, bicameral basis. thanks to both of you. dr. fox? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for coming today, and i know that you all have done a lot of work, along with the staff, to get us to this place so that we can keep the government funding. ms. lowey, i understand what you're saying, and i agree with
you about the fact that the sequester is not good for the defense of this nation, but if you haven't read bob woodward's book, and i hope that you will, let me tell you, page 326 on july 26th, this is a quote, direct quote, from the bob woodward book, at "2:30 p.m., white house budget director jack lew and white house legislative affairs director rob neighbors went to the senate to meet with senate majority leader harry reid and his chief of staff david crone. we have an idea for the trigger, lew said. what's the idea, reid asked skeptically? sequestration." so, i hope that you have taken your pleas to the president and to his staff. >> will the gentlelady yield for a quick question? >> not yet. i just started. >> it's relevant to the point
you just made. >> after i -- thank you. so, i hope very much that you have made your appeal to the president, because we certainly have made that appeal, and i think you know that we passed two bills last year to stop the sequester and to make what we thought were sensible, smart, common sense cuts. and we just haven't been able to get bipartisan support for those. i think it's very important that the american people understand this is the president's sequester. this is not the republicans of the house sequester, yes, some of us voted for it. i don't know if that's what my colleague's going to ask, but like many other people, we had hoped it would never get to this point. but the idea came from the president. i tell school groups when i meet
with them all the time, the number one role of the federal government is the defense of this nation. every other thing that we do from the federal level, practically, can be done at the state and local levels, but not defense. and if we don't have a strong defense and we're not kept a free people, the rest of it, frankly, doesn't matter much, because if we're not free, we can't do the other things. so, i appreciate your appeal. i appreciate your concerns about defense, and i believe they are wholeheartedly felt on your part. but i think that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are directing their concerns to the wrong people, because i think it's the other side of the aisle that needs to pay attention to where we are. and with that, i would yield to my colleague from massachusetts.
>> i would just point out to the gentle lady that thomas mann and norm have put out a book that discredits the woodward book and did the gentle lady vote for the sequester? >> i believe i did. >> i tell school kids there's separation of powers, you've got the executive and the legislative branch. here in the legislative branch we can say yes or we can say no. you voted for the sequester, so i would say to the gentle lady, she owns it. and the fact that we are here at this point, you know, basically in a state of dysfunction is representative of the lack of leadership here in the house of representatives. i thank the gentle lady for yielding, but i wanted to point out that her definitive remark about the president is not so definitive. >> reclaiming my time, i realize that we have a separation of powers and that we have three branches of government, and i would say to you that the house is only half of the congress.
the white house is controlled by democrats, the senate is controlled by democrats. the republicans in the house are not in a state of dysfunction. we pass bills last year, twice, asking this be taken care of and it was not taken care of. the president, all the president would need to do is ask the senate to pass the bill that the house sent over or to pass their own bill. we're still waiting for the senate to pass a bill and send it to us so we can go to conference. >> gentle lady said she voted for the sequester, that must mean she supports the sequester. if she didn't, she would have voted against it. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> if i may respond, mr. chairman and ms. foxx. if i recall, i'm not sure if that's the vote my friend mr. mcgovern is talking about, but i believe there was a vote for the sequester in the summer of 2011
in the cut, cap, and balance act so that this is a republican priority. i think it's important, secondly, to make the point, because i think we're adults and we all care about the long-term debt and we care about the deficit. i have three children, i have eight grandchildren. i don't know how many you have, but we were talking about it, and i do worry about our children and the future. but we did pass the budget control act, which took a trillion dollars in the long-term debt, $1 trillion over the ten years, over the decade, and also put cap of $550 billion on discretionary spending. and i also want to make it clear, as i know the chairman and i worry about this, that discretionary dollars, as a percentage of the gross domestic
product, as a percentage of the economy, is at its lowest level in the last 45 years. so, we do cut. and i guess there's a difference in philosophy, because i believe we have to decrease the long-term debt, but i also believe that putting people to work, investing in infrastructure, making sure we deal with our roads, our bridges, our highway, is the way to do it. so the sequester cut that was part of the cut, cap, and balance act, i don't think, is a responsible way for legislators to legislate. >> mr. chairman, might i say, sequestration is one thing. continuing resolution is another. we're here about the continuing resolution. and sequestration is upon us and we'll have to deal with that, but not now. this bill is only about keeping the government operating for the balance of the year, and i would hope we can stay with that.
>> well, i -- first of all, i agree with the gentleman, but in reference to the political remarks that have been made that are very appropriate in this context, let us remember that it was speaker john boehner and our majority leader eric cantor who said we will not allow the government to go into chaos because we don't pass a debt limit, and i believe it became a very important attribute early on, 18 months ago, of the president and the new republican leadership of working together and the resolution was one that they all work together. we can all look back and say we didn't like it, but it did become law and we are there. thank you very much for the comment, mrs. slaughter. >> i thank you very much, mr. chairman, for an opportunity to speak. i didn't vote for sequester, and i expect none of us did, so i don't expect any ownership at all, but i do know what we can
do with it. mr. van holland is going to come up for the fourth time and try to get his amendment made in order and that would do away with sequester and save us an awful lot of money with cuts to agriculture subsidies and oil companies and others instituting the buffett rule. i do hope we can find it in our hearts today. the fourth time for the ranking member of the budget committee to come to rules and ask for an amendment is a little bit embarrassing, so i hope we'll be able to do that. thank you for the time. did the lights go out? >> something happened. >> have we been sequestered? 10% of the lights are out. >> i told you to stop talking about sequestration. >> i have a little trouble, howell is my hometown from kentucky, we've been buddies forever. glad to see you. >> good to see you. >> that may be a precursor. mrs. slaughter and i were before
the committee this morning asking for a budget for this year, this next year, and we may have just gotten an answer. i hope we paid our bills. we're a support organization. mr. bishop? >> thank you, mr. chairman. before i engage in the political spin of the day, would you mind if i asked you some specific questions about the bill that's actually before us? i do have about three. actually, i have the first is the most important question. mr. chairman, i would wonder if your friend and acquaintance from back in the good old days, if you have any stories we can use and be successful here. >> the gentleman does, i'm not sure how successful those would be and i don't find those germane to today's argument, but i will say this, with respect to that, we have mutually assured destruction of each other in mind. so, thank you for checking on that. i'll give you his business card. >> we'll talk to you in the hall
afterwards. >> see, i'm in trouble, blake. thank you. >> this c.r. and some of the media reports i think was inaccurately described as adding $7 to $10 billion to the current c.r. levels. i understand that is not accurate to that, but you do shift or at least allow the shifting of funds into the operation and maintenance of the military. if you could just simply tell me what you actually do in the shifting or allowing the shifting of those funds and perhaps what would be the offsets that were put into the plus-up for o & m. >> essentially, the -- unless we pass the d.o.d. appropriations bill that we've included in this bill, if we don't do that and they stay under the old straight-out c.r., they are going to run short of operations
and maintenance account money, so what the bill does is shift money, as the bill that passed the house did, shifts money into the operations and maintenance bucket. >> you have -- maybe one of your staffers has from whenst that money comes to o & m? >> the o & m would be reduced if we don't do this by about $11 billion. that's because a c.r., plain-old c.r., keeps each account static. all funding remains at last year's levels. that means important funds are kept from accounts at which they are needed.
while billions are given to obsolete programs or programs that should be reduced. for example, things like iraq operations. $500 million, for example, in savings from spare parts that are excessed to what they need. the c.r., regular c.r., does not allow for new starts. we lose billions more in increased production delays and contract slippage. for example, construction of the next aircraft carrier would be pushed back a year. construction of new destroyers would be halted. 17 hospitals, which are needed to treat our wounded warriors, would not be billed unless we do this. things like that. the defense budget is a very fluid account, more fluid than
any other of the government, because you've got so many things going out at one time. and year-old divisions of money, which a regular c.r. would provide, would take away the department's ability to spend money where they need it rather than where they would be made to do it under the old law. >> so this misrepresentation on the part of the media, $7 to $10 billion, that's flexibility, that's the number roughly you're putting back into o & m in the military? >> flexibility -- let me mention briefly, too, bill young is in the room, chairman young, he's the author of the defense bill that we're incorporating in the c.r. his subcommittee, which he chairs, and which was approved also by the senate committee. it's a refreshed new look at how d.o.d. wants and needs to spend the money they get, given the
inflexibilities to move money around to fit today's needs. >> do you see this kind of shift of the o & m budget as helping lessen the impact of some of the large civilian furloughs that may be threatened within the defense community for the civilian employees? will this give them some flexibility to play around with that concept? >> this bill does not address the sequestration problem. it will give them flexibility to try to absorb sequestration costs better than they could have otherwise. but it will by no means solve the sequestration hit on defense. >> just in this one area then with furloughs, sans this change, this appropriations attached to the c.r., there would be very little opportunity for them to try and move some money around to mitigate that kind of condition. this gives the military, as i understand it, a flexibility to
see if they can put some area, some mitigation, into the impact it would have, or not, am i accurate in that? >> are you talking about contract employees? >> civilian work load that may be furloughed. does this give them flexibility to play with the furloughs? >> i don't think it would have any impact. each agency has to implement the sequestration. but i don't believe it would be of any help in the area that you're talking about. >> all right. those were the specifics i had in that. just so i can play the games we've done before, first of all, i do like one other element of this, the actual military construction that will be taking place. without passing these measures
to give the authorization for military obstruction to take place, there are some construction efforts at some of our bases, which i know have been approved, they've been funded, just need the authorization to do it. the f-35, for example, will be made, perhaps less than we planned on it. they will be bedded down at certain installations. those installations need to have the facilities ready and prepared to accept the bedding down of those f-35s without the amendment that you put in here on the military construction, those -- some of those construction needs that are going to be essential would not possibly have been able to take place. so, the planes would come and we simply would not be prepared to accept them and to put them. so i do appreciate specifically the military construction aspect, which i know is going to make a big difference. mr. chairman, i did vote against sequestration, and i find out saying i told you so has no particular value or helpfulness to it. i voted twice for a change to
solve the problem of sequestration, and our good friends over in the senate chose not to deal with that issue whatsoever. i find no joy in that fact, as well. although, i will tell you the last time i went home, i was a constant in the men's room by three individuals. i'm not a public person to begin with, but i have to admit talking to people in a men's room in an airport is somewhat difficult for me to do. two of the people were very positive and thanked me for what i was doing, and the third was basically a jerk and said all of congress fails. and i would have left it at that had he not waited at the door to pounce on me as soon as i left the men's room and simply once again said his complaint that everything in congress had failed. and i tried nicely, i wasn't nice at all, to let him know there are two houses to congress and that i was tired of being held accountable for the incapacity of senator reid to actually do his job over on the senate side. we had taken those votes.
we had done our issues. and so i'm a little bit tired of all of the spin coming out here, much of which is far over the top. but i do appreciate you bringing this particular bill here. this will solve a significant problem that will face us at the end of this month if you do not. this, even though i'd hope there would be more flexibility in the o & m budget, but it does provide military construction, which is desperately needed, and it will solve problems we cannot put off. i thank you for putting those particular efforts. i also appreciate you doing this for the military, and i can see a reason why you would add these and perhaps not some of the others. if this were the first reduction that the military was asked to take with sequestration, i would basically say, big deal, live with it. but it is not. this is basically the third cut in the last five years our military has faced. the first two cuts, depending
how you want to cut it, are somewhere between $7 and $9 billion and this is another sequestration, another $500 billion on top of that. it is different. the military component of sequestration is different than the rest of it, and i think you should -- in our rhetoric we should clarify there is a specific difference. and the fact you are putting these appropriation bills on the c.r. is an effort to try and mitigate the impact of this third reduction in the military. not the first and second, because we've already faced those reductions and faced the problems they have faced, but this third one, and so it's appropriate of what you are doing, and i appreciate you actually bringing this bill here. and i thank you for trying to answer at least those three questions that i had that were legitimately to the issue at hand. i yield back. >> mr. chairman, if i may respond to mr. bishop -- >> i think you'll have another chance. people will give you all sorts of opportunity. i've yielded back. >> thank you very much, mr.
mcgovernm mcgovern. >> out of courtesy, i'll let the gentle lady respond. >> i told you so. >> i certainly support what our chairman did with the defense bill, and military construction bill, but i also want to remind you, because i heard your concern, i was talking to congressman fleischmann just a short time ago, and many people are not as aware of the very critical defense work that our labs are doing, such as in oak ridge, many in california. i won't go into great detail, but i think it's important, even if many people don't feel the passion about the national institutes of health cuts or education or head start or pre-k or aircraft controllers, i can go on and on. but if you're focused on
defense, we have to be concerned about the energy and mortar bill and the impact on the critical work that's being done in our labs directly related to our defense work, as well, and i yield back. thank you. >> i thank the gentle lady. let me just say a couple things. just for kind of the record. i know we hear about the continuing resolution, but i want to say a couple things about sequestration since it was brought up a couple of times. unless i'm missing something, in the 113th congress, the republicans have yet to bring a bill to the floor in the house to deal with sequestration. and if i'm reading the news correctly, i think it was last week that the senate actually had a bill that got 51 votes but the republicans insisted on a 60-vote margin. again, i mean, we have been missing opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to try to fix this, and while i
appreciate the great work that the d.o.d. and the va do, and i think it's good they've got flexibility to try to deal with this sequestration in the continuing resolution. i guess my question is, why weren't the other appropriations bills -- why weren't other appropriation bills received special treatment under this continuing resolution? why just these two? >> well, these two bills were agreed upon by the house and senate. and they address what i consides not to deal with. we can't send, for example we can't send one of our aircraft carrier groups to the middle east. and i'm sure there are people in the world who are taking note of those types of things. readiness and operations of our military is at stake here.
and there's nothing more dangerous, i think, or in need of fixing than the inability of the military to be able to move with the times. that's why these two bills are -- >> and i guess, you know, if we're not going to deal with sequestration, i would have thought we would have provided more flexibility for these other agencies and departments, because they do get to the heart of another part of our national security, and that is, you know, people who are just trying to survive in this country. you know, under sequestration, i'm reading a report here from joel verg from the new york city coalition for hunger, and he talks about the fact that the sequester would remove 600,000 mothers and infants from wic, that's the women, infants and children program, which gives
settlements to low-income women and children under 5. the program reduces hunger and obesity, preventing more than 500,000 babies from dying at birth. the sequestration will also result in cuts to programs like the federally assisted meals on wheels. and serve an estimated 4 million fewer meals to senior citizens. i go on and on and on. but these cuts are not just numbers in programs. they're real people behind them. and we're trying to get out of this difficult economy, and there are so many people who are living in this country, you know, who are stuck in poverty, who are hungry, who don't know where their next meal's going to come from. and who do not like the idea that they have to rely on government assistance to get them through these difficult times. but without it, quite frankly, would find themselves at a -- at an even worse disadvantage.
i mean, i'm worried that by not addressing sequestration here, that we are, you know, we're just kind of turning our heads while some of these cuts go into play that are going to be devastating to people. a lot of people today wake up and don't wonder about what's going to happen in the middle east, they're wondering how to put food on the table. i would just urge, you know, i regret that we're kind of in this spot that we're in right now. i appreciate the work that most of my colleagues are doing to try to usher a continuing resolution to the floor. but i think that there's a -- i think this response is inadequate, given the needs of our nation. national security includes more than just the number of soldiers we have in our military, and the number of weapons we have in our arsenal, the number of military bases, it also includes people trying to get through their life here in the united states. and there are a lot of people
that are struggling. and this resolution does not unfortunately, as far as i can see, address the shortfalls that will occur in these other departments and other agencies. i don't know if i'm missing something here. >> let me respond again. in this bill, we provide for authority, for any agency to request to reprogram funds within an account, or even transfer money from another account. >> so the sequester program would come back to congress to approve? >> it comes back to congress to be approved by the committee. and that's a routine thing. we do that every day, to allow agencies to reprogram money from one account to another. there's a limit on the amount. but that's in the bill. and in the practice of the congress, and these agencies. for example, we provide a
contingency of up to $3 billion to assist wic under the anomalies that we've written into the bill. which provide an exception -- a -- an addition to the cr. now, under one of these anomalies, we assure continuation of the food stamp, the contingency fund -- >> the food stamp was exempt from the sequestration. >> to be available in case of a shortfall in the wic, supplemental feeding program. anyway, what i'm saying to you is, there's ample authority in the cr that we're proposing that would allow agencies to ask for reprogramming. >> and i -- >> if they don't want to ask -- >> once we're through this whole reprogramming process, if things weren't as chaotic as they are
right now, that would be even more chaotic. i guess my point is this. that, you know, the very people who government, you know, needs to be there, are the people who are going to be hit the hardest by this sequestration. and i'm not -- you know, i'll go back and look at the continuing resolution, but i'm not convinced yet that this solves those problems. and i just -- i think people ought to keep that in mind. i'm not blaming you, mr. chairman. you've got to deal with the -- you know, the cards that you're dealt. but i think that this process, when all is said and done, if we don't fix this soon, you're going to see an increase in poverty. you're going to see people fall through the cracks. more hungry people in this country. and if people aren't moved by the moral obligation, it's going to cost us a lot more money down the road, health care costs, kids don't learn in school, lost productivity, i could go on and on and on. that's what i worry about, that
we're doing this, you know, we're going through this kind of numbers game and my worry is that the people who are going to be hurt the most are the people who can least afford it. i appreciate the gentleman's comments. i would be happy to yield. >> i think we can all agree we want to get something better than sequestration on the books. it's a silly, stupid, mindless way of cutting spending, but it does cut spending. but that's another day. sequestration is another time. what i'm asking you here today is to approve the bill to continue funding of the government through -- >> i appreciate the gentleman's comments. thank you. >> gentleman yields his time. mr. cole? >> thank you, mr. chairman. before i question -- make comments to our distinguished chairman and ranking member, my favorite chairman and my favorite ranking member in congress, as i serve on their committee -- >> you can talk about it.
>> i absolutely have -- >> mr. chairman, i do tell them, you know, there's the big chairman and the other two. this is the big chairman. i know where i'm more likely to live the rest of my life. more likely to be on mr. rogers' committee. but seriously, i did want to report one thing as we slide into our contingent. i wanted to tell you why quickly. i was with a room full of very happy people, and they were very happy because of what this committee did last week to fa sill date in a very bipartisan fashion of consideration of violence against women act. they specifically asked me to thank you, mr. chairman, and thank every member of this committee that made it possible for the house to consider that, and move forward in a bipartisan fashion. so every now and then we actually do good things around here. actually, more than every now and then, i would say. let me begin by reading something that i think kind of
puts the issue in perspective. i do not often quote the communications -- the press secretary for the president of the united states, mr. carney, but i thought he had something interesting to say. he was talking about the continuing resolution, and he said, but the issue here is on the continuing resolution and the funding of the government. we certainly support the idea that as the president said from here, that we should not create another crisis on top of this one, another manufactured showdown, that congress ought to pass the cr without drama, as it has a half a dozen times since april of 2011. you probably didn't know it was that many times, because there was no drama around it. and to do so -- to do that in a way that's practical and nonpolitical and consistent with the levels of the budget control act. i want to commend the chairman for doing exactly that, trying to get us through a difficult time without a lot of drama. and way ahead of schedule.
so we're not here at the very last moment, you know, twisting in agony. i do appreciate very much that you've respected the will of the president, and the congress, and stuck to the sequester levels. an idea advocated by the president, passed by the congress. my good friend here was right to say, and point out, he was happy not to be associated with it. i will point out for the record, though, had we not done that, the cuts would have been a lot worse. you don't raise the debt ceiling, you're looking at a 40% cut in everything, immediately. and so if we're agonizing over sequester, think what the agony would have been had that agreement not been arrived at by all parties, including our speaker, obviously the leader of the senate, president of the united states. so, you know, sometimes you do things you might not like to do, to avoid something worse. and i think in that case, that would have been what happened. i think, mr. chairman, mr. big
chairman, the thing i like about this, i'm like everybody here, i'd like to have more flexibility and do more, but this is pretty simple. this is you taking something that we agree upon, in a bipartisan sense, and bicameral sense, and put in the most pressing issues, national defense. you've tried to minimize the level of controversy here, the anomalies that you've laid out in the bill, i think there's 80 of them, there's 600 in previous ones, so you've been pretty tight, kept this very clean, lived within the limits we have and you're trying to move it and give the other body time to act as well. i'd like to ask you this. i may be jumping ahead and i shouldn't ask you to speculate on the senate, but assuming we move this through as written, won't the senate have an opportunity to move their own version of the cr, and if they want to add some other things, as my friend on the other side of the aisle suggests perhaps i
should, that i might well be happy if they did, they will have the opportunity to do that, and if they move quickly, then wouldn't we have the opportunity to conference, and you could look at what they'd offered and we could look at what we'd offered and perhaps get further down the road than your very fine proposal? >> well, the gentleman is correct. the senate can do whatever they want to do. we had more or less conferenced -- we passed seven of these 12 bills, as you know, on the floor of the house. the senate failed to pass any. but the senate committee, and our subcommittees, went ahead and tried to iron out the differences anyway. and i think they finished like seven of those subcommittee bills, two of which were put in this cr. so yes, they could add some of those bills in if they saw fit and send it back over here.
who knows what they will do. but we will consider whatever they send back. >> i want to give my good friend from new york an opportunity to comment as well. >> it's always a pleasure to be with you, my good friend, mr. cole, who has such thoughtful, responsible solutions to problems. and i just would like to remind you, because as the distinguished chairman said, there was bicameral cooperation on several bills. so in addition to the military, to defense bill and the milcon, my comments was just to state and homeland security providing critical needs. so before mr. mcgovern, i was talking about education and health care and the national institutes of health, but i don't understand why just defense and milcon are part of the cr when there was bicameral agreement on, according to my records, and you said there was
seven, which is even better. but this is before the sequester. it certainly would have made a better package if we could have had more of the bills that were agreed on as part of the cr. so i'm not sure why that didn't happen. >> would it be fair to say the senate will have an opportunity to do that if it chooses to? there's an argument to be made here not to put too much from one side and look like we're trying to jam it down. but i like the idea if we can get this done early, of a real process going back and forth between the house and the senate and something that sort of begins to vaguely resemble normal order, which we all would like to see restored around here. >> i happen to agree that this bicameral press is good. i want to make two points. number one, it already took place on defense and milcon. and according to my records,
just the states and homeland. but all of that package in the cr, and i think it's good that we're trying to pass the cr, does not do anything, there is no language getting rid of the sequester. everyone that has come and testified at these hearings, no matter which side of the aisle, has made it clear that the sequester would cause devastating disaster. >> mr. chairman? did you have anything you wanted to add? >> just on the idea of the senate potentially adding things in. >> obviously we'll consider whatever the senate sends back to us. i've had a chance to meet with senator mckosky, the new chairman over there, and senator shelby, the ranking republican on the senate side of the committee.
and of course, nita lowey. of those four, three are brand-new to these jobs. so we've met together, and we've determined that we want to get back to regular order, all four of us, and to do things the right way. that's why i'd like to see us get this bill over with, so fiscal '13 is behind us, and we can begin to focus as we are already on fiscal '14. we're starting the hearings on fiscal '14 already. getting ready for the '14 bills. so the sooner we get this business over with, the better -- >> i just -- to pick up a phrase of my good friend mr. mcgovern used, mr. chairman, you do only get to play the cards dealt to you. and i don't think any of us think you were dealt an easy hand to play. i think in this bill where you've taken care of our most
pressing national security concerns, where you folded in work that the two bodies have agreed upon, in a bipartisan fashion, and where you've left open the possibility for the senate to do the same, and hopefully the time for them to do the same, we can take a step back toward the process that i know we all would like to see happen. i want to add one other thing. you've been very generous with your time, mr. chairman, as always. to my friend, mr. bishop and i have very similar circumstances. we both have large civilian work forces that do critical work for the country. we both have a concern. while i think you are commendably cautious in pointing out the sequester cuts, they will take place. i think that's something my friends need to understand. it's written into law. we can redistribute, we can do a lot of things. we tried to do that twice. i wish a lot of people that were
concerned about it now were concerned about it lasted may, or last december. didn't have to be our way, but they did need to enter into negotiations. that wasn't done, and we're here. but we do have a possibility going forward of recapturing some of the work of last year. it's because of your work. but in the defense area, i am particularly pleased to see that this budget does put over $10 billion back into operations and maintenance. now, where the air force and the army and the navy and the, you know, marines will choose to spend that, i don't know. they have to make those decisions. but we have a better chance under this thing, for what i know you and i would like to see happen, which is the minimal disruption to civilian work forces, than we would under just i would hope that we move this through and give the senate a chance to act responsibly. they may pick up my good